Lambeth council is in “complete chaos” says Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs.

News From Crystal Palace understands that chief executive Sean Harriss is apparently on indefinite leave and has not posted on Twitter since very early in July.

Cllr Briggs says: “There is a different strategic director in charge as interim chief executive each week, anything difficult or controversial they just ignore for the next one to deal with (and they don’t, so members just get ignored).

“Labour councillors are doing whatever they like and trying to force through all sorts of controversial decisions, and no-one is accountable for anything – even worse than usual. “The whole council is in complete chaos.”

Cllr Briggs says he has also been trying to get information about the council’s housing department.

“I have asked specific questions from council officers about who has been suspended from work on disciplinary matters, on what allegations, with what evidence, because I know for a fact that some housing department officers have resigned or moved on rather than be investigated, some are on sick leave after being threatened with violence, and some have been suspended on full pay pending investigations which have no start date and no end, the details of which are never made clear, even to councillors.

“I specifically asked asked high ranking officers to give me details, and not to do the usual Lambeth thing and provide thin, meaningless statistics – ‘x on sick leave’, ‘y suspended following disciplinary proceedings’, but of course that was what they gave me, directly countermanding what I had asked for.

“The housing department in particular whilst it has many good officers, is an Augean Stables that needs top-to-bottom reorganisation which can only be achieved by a group of Conservative councillors who understand the challenge of 40 years of ‘anything goes’ left-wing and loony Labour management, where residents always get treated with contempt in order to make sure that Lambeth employees have a comfy existence, and everyone’s mate can get a job, however rubbish they are, so long as they know the ‘right’ people at the town hall.”

And fellow Conservative Cllr Bernard Gentry said:  “Council is even more chaotic then usual like a rudderless ship. “Several important issues stalled including the redress scheme for sex abuse victims.

“Information hard for members to get and lower ranking officers appear to act on their own without proper supervision.”

News From Crystal Palace have asked Lambeth council for a response on both Mr Harriss’s absence and the comments of Cllr Briggs and Gentry but have not yet received a reply. If we ever get one, we’ll let you know.

UPDATE: A Lambeth council spokesman told News From Crystal Palace today (August 28th):  “Lambeth chief executive Sean Harriss is absent from work due to ill-health. “He will return to work in due course. “Over the summer our strategic directors are providing Chief Executive cover.”

(Note: Augeas, the mythical king of Elis, kept stables that held 3,000 oxen and had not been cleaned for thirty years – until Hercules was given the job which he accomplished by diverting two rivers to run through the stables. – Ed.)


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